Monday, March 27, 2017

Unboxing: March Ever After Box

I started subscribing to Ever After Box in February, and was very excited about this month's theme: Sexy Shifters! I haven't read a ton of paranormal or shifter romance, so I figured my odds were good for not receiving a book I already owned. Ever After Box is always romance-centric with a new theme every month. Each box contains at least two books, ebook download codes, and cute accessories that match the monthly theme. Details about what I received below the jump!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What I Can't Wait to Read: YA 2017

Release date: March 14th, 2017 (today!)

This contemporary, geek-centric story focuses on best friends, fandom, a super convention, and what happens when lifelong friendships evolve into something more. It sounds super cute and like a lot of fun to read, plus the hot pink hair on the cover is amazing. I'm really looking forward to picking this one up now that it's out!

Release date: May 30th, 2017

I am always looking for more YA books with Asian heroines, and the addition of K dramas in this book takes my fangirling for this release over the top. High school senior Desi Lee decides to take some inspiration from K drama in hopes of winning over her crush, and something tells me that won't go exactly as planned. Plus, the cover is so cute! 

Release date: May 30th, 2017

I'm not going to lie, the cover definitely pulled me in to add this book to my TBR. The colors and the sheer joy in the cover make this book look like a really fun read. Plus, this book focuses on a contemporary romance between opposites and I love opposites attract love stories. 

Release date: May 2nd, 2017

Although the Lara Jean books were intended as a duology, I was thrilled when Jenny Han announced a third installment. I loved Lara Jean's love story with Peter, going from a pretend romance to something real, and enjoyed watching her character grow and evolve on her own without her older sister present to shape her life. Some readers find Jenny Han books a bit too sappy, but I think she balances it out with a good dose of humor. I pre-ordered this one and will probably due a review of the whole series once I read it.

Release date: May 9th, 2017

This book is billed as Gilmore Girls with magical realism, which means I added it to my TBR immediately. I'm not sure how apt that comparison is, but it also is a sort-of retelling of Wuthering Heights, which I also find intriguing. Hopefully the male lead in this book isn't as terrible as Heathcliff, but you never know. It still sounds like a fun read and I can't wait to check it out!

Release date: May 9th, 2017
This book is being billed as a high fantasy, which I'm sometimes skeptical of when it comes to YA. Still, the cover is gorgeous and the main character is a spy trying to save her kingdom, so I'm pretty excited to check this out when it is released.

Release date: August 8th, 2017

Again, the font and cover design definitely drew me in to this one, but I'm also intrigued by the story of an Iranian-American teen, Daria, who is proud of her culture and background but still learning more about it, not all of which she agrees with. I love contemporary YA about self-discovery and figuring out how to stay true to yourself, so this sounds like a good read.

Release date: July 18th, 2017

I had to throw a fantasy title in here since all my most anticipated reads seem to be contemporaries. Plus, look at the cover of this book! This book infuses fantasy with Indian folklore and follows the story of Princess Amrita who begins the story offering herself as a bride to save her people, but ends up a fugitive and on the run. I have high hopes for this book!

Release date: July 11th, 2017
This looks like a fun summer read in the vein of Morgan Matson, and follows Becca as she moves to L.A. in hopes of making it as an actress. It sounds like a fun, inspirational book and I'm intrigued by the possible love interest not being a white guy (his name is Raj). Also, how cute is the font for the title?!

Release date: September 19th, 2017
This one is coming out a little later this year than the other books I'm excited about, but I had to include it. I loved Jennifer Mathieu's Devoted, and when I saw she had a new book coming out I added it to my TBR right away. Plus, the main character in this book is the child of a 90's riot grrrl who decides to fight the patriarchy at her high school with zine making (I may have written my senior thesis on 90's riot grrrl and third wave feminism). It sounds so, so good!

Note: release dates are what is listed on Goodreads, and may change in the future.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Title: Bet Me
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 2004
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Yes, I realize that this book is older than most book bloggers, and that everyone my age read this ages ago. Nonetheless, I finally just read Bet Me and, you guys, I get it. I get why so many women cite this as the book that got them into romance, and I get why it’s often referenced when it comes to book recs. It’s even aged pretty well, considering it came out before social media really took off (sorry, Friendster). So, in case you are like me and incredibly late to this party, Bet Me centers on the lives of Minerva, or Min, Dobbs, an actuary who doesn’t want to find the one but may be forced into discovering him anyway, and Cal Morrissey, a super handsome, successful so-called womanizer with a penchant for making ten dollar bets with his friends. They are both fresh from break ups when their paths cross, and their lives and the lives of their friends and families become instantly intertwined. Min thinks she overhears Cal accepting a bet that he can get her into bed for ten dollars, and she decides to mess with him and accept his offer to dinner, and hopefully at least scoring an instant wedding date out of the arrangement. Hilarity ensues and romance abounds. There’s Italian food, there’s a stray cat, and lots of descriptions of shoes that would have been considered very fashionable in the early 2000’s.

Shout out to my fellow olds who know where this is from!
Since this is a pretty well-known book, I won’t delve too deep into the minutiae of the story line, but will mention what appealed to me most. This book struck a balance between being funny, and being emotionally poignant, but not in a cheesy way. Even though some out-there things happen (it is a romance novel, after all), I still found the characters to be believable and their actions made sense throughout the course of the story. When they messed up, they realized it and figured out how to make it better. Even the ‘bad guys’ of the story: the exes, both Min’s ex David and Cal’s ex Cynthie are not portrayed as evil and the other characters don’t hate them, even though they plot and do terrible things to keep Min and Cal apart. They aren’t completely villainous, which is so easy to do in romance-landia. At times when Cynthie and David are plotting I may have yelled “Give it a rest!” out loud at my Kindle, but it’s a good sign when you talk to your books, right?

How I felt whenever Cynthie would insist she was about to win Cal back
 The only thing that I don’t think aged very well is how Min’s weight is treated. It kind of reminded me of Love Actually, a film I despise btw, wherein an average-sized woman is constantly referred to as "the fat one" and Hugh Grant's character falls in love with her anyway. Now, Min isn't treated quite that abysmally and overall she learns how to feel comfortable in her body, but the focus on her weight was kind of hard for me to read. It honestly sounded like she was maybe a size 10 and that was considered some kind of travesty. However, this was mostly coming from flawed characters, like her mother, who is basically a terrible person throughout the book. On the positive side, it was nice to read about her going shopping and picking out clothes that made her happy instead of trying to look thinner. Still, major eye roll that a man inspires this change in her. I do realize that this book was written during peak Atkins obsession, so the whole no carb-obsession that Min has makes some sense. Even so, I think if this book was written today, the way that Min's weight is described and discussed would be more sensitive (I hope).

It was also a little strange that Min was so adamant about not taking Cal seriously. Most of the conflict stems from her not believing someone who looks like him could like someone who looks like her, and she doesn't want to get emotionally invested (and hurt). She calls him the devil so many times, I lost count. Luckily the fates were on their side, otherwise who knows whether she'd get her HEA. She really needed therapy, or maybe a yoga class or something, because emotionally she was all over the place. Actually, Cal was also emotionally damaged because surprise surprise he also has awful parents, so pretty much both of these people needed to do some work on themselves before participating in a fully functional relationship. But I digress.

Despite its' flaws, this book still makes me feel like cheering
Overall, this book is kind of like contemporary romance junk food. It’s got the impossibly handsome hero falling for the notably average heroine, lots of inane conflict that could have been resolved if people communicated better, awesome female friendships, and choosing to be with someone who deserves you and treats you right instead of whoever is there. Even the frustrating aspects of the story don’t take away from it being a fun, feel-good read. If you like rom-coms like 27 Dresses and that one movie where Deborah Messing hires a prostitute as a wedding date, this book will feel very familiar and comforting. I would say this is an awesome sick day read.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

February Reading Re-Cap

This month went by so quickly that I kind of forgot to re-cap it! Overall, I stayed pretty consistent with my reading for February and am slowly working my way through different challenge books. I’m a little behind on all of my different reading challenges, but that is okay with me. I’m trying not to stress about them and just complete them for fun. Looking back at what I read throughout the month, I think it’s probably the most romance I’ve read in one month ever! Maybe Valentine’s Day got me in the romance reading mood, or maybe it’s because I’ve been super stressed out at work and romance is the ultimate escape, either way, I feel good about it.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Title: Slammed
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Contemporary/New Adult
Release Date: January 2012
Rating: 2/5 Stars

New Adult is a category of books that I’m still warming up to; last year, I read Confess by Colleen Hoover, and was almost surprised that I really enjoyed it. Although that book had a few issues, it still made me want to venture into her back list for my Contemporary Romance challenge, and I ended up reading Slammed, which centers around 18-year-old Layken (this name makes me cringe, tbh) aka Lake (much better), and her 21-year-old neighbor Will. Lake’s dad just passed away and she moved with her mother and younger brother to Michigan, allegedly for her mother’s work but Lake has her own suspicions of why they moved. Meanwhile, she meets Will as soon as she moves in, and he is super hot and super into her so she’s like “Maybe Michigan’s not so bad” and decides to give the move a chance. For some reason, Will is super into slam poetry even though it’s no longer 1996, and he takes Lake to a slam poetry night at a Detroit club. This bothered me a little bit because Will and Lake live in Ypsilanti, which is a lot closer to Ann Arbor than Detroit and I kind of feel like that is where they would go to hear some really bad college student slam poetry, but I digress. Back to the plot summary. Also, spoiler alert because I’m not sure how to explain my issues with this book without spoiling a little bit. Keep reading if you have read this already or are okay with being spoilered.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Unboxing: February Ever After Box

In my previous post on book subscription boxes, I mentioned the Ever After Box and thought I would share my most recent unboxing here! This box is romance-centric and includes two print books, download codes for ebooks, and cute extras and accessories that tie in to the monthly theme. You can pay by the box, or choose a subscription. I opted to buy the three month non-renewing subscription so I could get a good idea of what I would be getting every month and determine if I wanted to keep renewing. Keep reading to see what goodies I got in February!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Book Subscription Box Guide

Subscription boxes are everywhere these days: you can subscribe to have your wardrobe picked out for you, get shaving supplies, or even a monthly supply of condoms if you’re an extremely popular person. But, as a reader, I’m most excited about book subscription boxes! What I like about boxes like this is that it feels like you’re opening a present, instead of just spending more money on books (even though in reality you’re spending money on books). Plus, sometimes the boxes have exclusive content or are personalized in some way. So I thought I’d share with you a few options, and give the run-down on ones that I’ve tried.